The 2015-2016 FSU basketball season is one of the most heavily anticipated seasons in school history. There are a lot of high hopes for a team that lost just one member last year and had a recruiting class that included the likes of Malik Beasley, Dwayne Bacon, Terance Mann, and Christ Koumadje. Here are what some of the college basketball reporters from around the country have to say about the upcoming FSU basketball season.
ACC Media Day:
At yesterday's ACC Media Day, the Noles were picked to finish 6th in the ACC by members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association. One lone voter even picked Florida State to win it all. Xavier Rathan-Mayes was also named 1st team all conference.
Chip Patterson CBS Sports:
Patterson has the Noles ranked #7 in his pre-season ACC standings, just ahead of Louisville. Among the seven experts on the CBS Sports college basketball staff, none have the Noles ranked lower than eighth or higher than fifth when the ACC season ends.
The Seminoles lost Aaron Thomas six games into last season, and struggled to find points that weren't provided by high-scoring guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes. The arrival of five-star freshman Dwayne Bacon (a 6-7 wing) and a great recruiting class should help with the offense, while the Seminoles' experience -- no team in the ACC returns more starts than FSU (89.7%) -- makes them an intriguing pick from the ACC's middle pack.
Composite CBS Sports:
Overall in college basketball, the Noles are ranked #48 by CBS Sports, just ahead of Tulsa, Louisville, UCLA, and Ohio State. The rankings also say the Florida State will be in March Madness talks throughout the season.
"Florida State's going to make noise with a top-50 player in Dwayne Bacon. The big man along with Xavier Rathan-Mayes will keep FSU in the Big Dance big picture all season long."
Dick Vitale ESPN:
Dickie V has the Florida State Seminoles ranked at #28 in his preseason top 40 list.
Brian Hamilton Sports Illustrated:
Hamilton begins his preview with a bold prediction, saying the FSU men's basketball head coach Leonard Hamilton will win ACC coach of the year.
Let's be honest: It probably should be Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, who somehow hasn't won this award since 1999-2000. But the talent that Coach K has again will overshadow his dexterity in creating a cohesive group. So Hamilton will benefit, as Coach of the Year honors often go to leaders of teams that make a jump. The Seminoles return their top six scorers and welcome in a ballyhooed recruiting class led by five-star wing Dwayne Bacon, who should bolster an already potent perimeter group. And a schedule featuring only one regular-season meeting apiece with Duke, North Carolina and Virginia sets up the Seminoles to push into the top half of the league. The school's first NCAA tournament berth in four years would cinch the deal.
For the Noles team themselves, Hamilton has them ending the season seventh in the ACC with a conference record of 9-9.
The dynamic in Tallahassee is combustible enough to warrant special attention. Proven returning veterans like Xavier Rathan-Mayes (14.9 ppg), Montay Brandon (11.8 ppg) and Devin Bookert (10.1 ppg) didn't earn an NCAA tournament bid last year. Will a trio of four- and five-star freshmen blend in without rancor, or will they attempt a takeover, given that the returnees haven't accomplished much of note?
Jeff Eisenberg Yahoo Sports:
Eisenberg has the Noles listed on his "Eight programs on the rise" list, saying Florida State has the biggest chance to improve in the conference than any other team in the ACC.
Ask ACC coaches which team has the best chance to ascend in the conference this season, and the most common answer is Florida State. The Seminoles return 87.2 percent of their scoring and 89.3 percent of their rebounding from a team that went a respectable 8-10 in league play last season but did not defeat any of the ACC's NCAA tournament-bound teams. Florida State's best player is guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes, a 6-foot-4 sophomore who averaged 14.9 points last season and became the first freshman in ACC history to score 30 or more points three times. The rest of the squad is a blend of proven veterans — most notably guards Montay Brandon and Devon Bookert — and ultra-talented newcomers like swingman Dwayne Bacon and guard Malik Beasley. That perimeter depth is a luxury Leonard Hamilton hasn't enjoyed in a while. He's hopeful that and the presence of three 7 footers will enable Florida State to return to the defensive dominance that was the foundation of four straight NCAA tournament teams not too long ago.
Joe Lunardi ESPN:
In Lunardi's preseason bracketology, he has Florida State getting into the NCAA Tournament as a #9 seed, facing Purdue. In total, Lunardi has nine total ACC teams making the tournament, with no other conference having more than six. Florida is also included on his last four out.
Pomeroy's preseason projections have Florida State at No. 37 in the nation, and tied with Syracuse for 9th in the ACC.
Scott Gleeson USA Today Sports:
Gleeson has the Noles at #26 in his, "Early 2015-2016 college basketball top 25."
Stay tuned for the Tomahawk Nation staff predictions!